What the collectivists (Leftists, Progressives, whatever they call themselves at the moment) want is not health care reform. Nor is it to fulfill the wishes of the American people.
What they want is control. Health care reform (or health care insurance reform) is merely one vehicle they see as likely to get them more control.
Control of others is important to them because they feel incapable of dealing with the world on their own.
Often, when justifying someone’s action, you hear the phrase, “for the greater good.”
It took awhile for me to realize that the proper question isn’t “greater than what?” The proper question is, “greater for whom?”
The phrase is used as an unanswerable justification for an action that would otherwise be judged as bad or evil. It’s as though if something is done “for the greater good,” it is unquestionably virtuous.
Think of the alms for the poor that religions have demanded from their congregations for hundreds of years, threatening hellfire for disobedience.
Or, consider the justification given for funding welfare programs through taxation. There are people in need; those who are meeting their own needs must provide for them. If your question about the good is, “greater for whom?” the answer comes easily; at least, it does if you’ve read Ayn Rand on altruism. The “greater good” means what’s good for other people, as opposed to what is good for an individual.
The “greater good” is given as a Christian way of dealing with the “problem of evil”. This latter is often raised in discussions about the existence of God. How can the Christian god exist when there is so much obvious evil in the world? Evil becomes less problematic — it can even be seen as necessary – if it contributes to bringing about the “greater good” of fulfilling God’s wishes.
What unites the religious “greater good” with the political “public interest”? They both based on the premise that sacrifice is good.
“The greater good” fits right in with the Christian duty to self-sacrifice. It also fits in with the political Left’s maxim that the good is whatever benefits the most people. Thus we get “the public interest”, which is said to justify the sacrifice of the productive to the “needy”. So, what might be thought of as “bad” or “evil” for some thus becomes a “greater good” for other people.
In essence, sacrifice is the giving up of something you value for something you value less or not at all. Christianity expects you to do so in order to have any chance of reaching Heaven. Leftist politicians exhort you to forego your own interests for: future generations, or the poor, or the environment, or health care for everyone or — fill in the blank with whatever goals they may currently specify. (Conservative politicians agree with most of their goals, but differ in their methods.)
The flip side of the “greater good” is the “lesser evil”. Lesser evil is necessary for there to be a greater good. (That’s what it’s greater than.)
The sacrifice entailed by the “greater good”, then, turns out to be the standard of morality. But how can something that’s admittedly evil — sacrifice of your values — be a moral standard? There is a contradiction here.
As always when encountering a contradiction, the principle is: check your premises. The premise that sacrifice is good contradicts the premise that values are good.
The alternative to the Christian/Leftist call for self-sacrifice? Rational egoism. Your responsibility is to yourself; not to any god nor to everyone else.
I sent the following to Walt Minnick, a “blue dog” Democrat who represents my district:
I cannot state more strongly than I already have how THOROUGHLY I am opposed to any form of government health care. The latest travesty is Ms. Pelosi’s 1900-page health care bill.
My political thoughts:
1) ObamaCare is a political loser.
Recent polls consistently show that a majority of Americans are opposed to the Congress’ health care “reform plan:
2) Free market health care reforms would be a political winner.
A CNN poll from earlier in 2009 shows that 8 out of 10 Americans are generally happy with their health care but are (legitimately) concerned about the rising costs:
If we adopted some of the free market reforms, as in the John Mackey WSJ OpEd from this fall, it would lower costs, while respecting individual rights and preserving health care quality:
Hence, free market reforms would be a political winner.
Dear Congressman Minnick,
My $.02 on the health care reform and insurance issues:
1. Do NOT authorize ANY increased government involvement in health care OR in health insurance. The idea of compromising on a “public option” is a red herring — vote against ANY bill that calls for more interference in health care or insurance.
2. Use your energy and influence to work toward reducing regulatory laws and bureaucratic agencies presently involved in health care. This nation was founded on the idea of individual rights. STOP restricting our rights!
I sent similar messages to Senators Crapo and Risch, both Republicans. Like many others, I’m getting damned tired of the ever-increasing government controls on our lives.
Dear Senator Risch:
You responded with a form letter to my expressed concern about health care. Thank you for replying.
My hope is that you understand that we protestors want the government out of the health care arena.
I want to implore you not to accept any compromises with the reform advocates, such as simply dropping the “public option” but keeping the rest, as recently floated by the President. The only way Congress can now help the health care system to improve is to begin to deregulate health care, with the eventual goal of getting out of it entirely.
We are not asking Congress to “advance health care reform with caution and concern related to cost, choice, quality and access,” as your form letter states. We are asking — demanding — that the government be restrained from any involvement in health care.
I am glad you do not approve of the creation of a new government-run “public” health care system. I am glad for your focus on freeing consumers and health care providers from government interference. Since the current problems with health care can be traced to previous government interference, it would make no sense to mandate further intrusion into such an important area of our lives.
In the scene in Atlas Shrugged where Jim Taggart was introduced, Ayn Rand wrote, “James Taggart seldom raised his head; when he looked at people, he did so by lifting his heavy eyelids and staring upward from under the expanse of his bald forehead.”
I was immediately reminded of that scene the other day, as I watched South Carolina’s Senator DeMint question Tim Geightner, Obama’s Secretary of the Treasury. Geightner appears to habitually hold a posture similar to Taggart’s. As he speaks, his head tilts down. He looks up from under his brow, with his forehead creased by multiple wrinkles. When a desk or podium is present, he tends to use it for support, bent forward and resting his elbows on it while making his hand gestures.
As an experiment, try assuming this posture Notice how you feel in this position. Do you feel confident, outgoing, optimistically eager to take on and solve problems? Or do you feel threatened, fearful, expecting to be disapproved of, or even attacked?
For examples (from different situations), see:
I have been too long away from the clinical psychology field to know what an expert at interpreting body language might say. And I only saw Geightner in this one admittedly uncomfortable situation — Sen. DeMint was asking him questions he was clearly unprepared for. I believe, though, that personality shows up in one’s habitual posture and approach to the world, and that Ayn Rand may have captured much of Geightner’s personality in her descriptions of Jim Taggart.
Lately, I haven’t been able to turn on TV news without the talking heads therein telling me the country’s financial state is terrible because of deregulation. The Republicans, it is alleged or explicitly stated, deregulated the financial sector, and those greedy businessmen and bankers took full advantage. Now, the bottom has fallen out of the stock market and financial institutions are having to be bailed out by the government.
Then, what to my wondering screen should appear, but the following:
The heart of the matter:
“The Federal Register, which lists all new rules, ran to 72,090 pages in 2007. This was down 3.8% from 2006. The record year was 2004, which saw 75,676 pages.
“Out of more than 60 federal departments, a mere five accounted for 45% of new rules. The departments of Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, and Homeland Security, along with the EPA, instituted a combined 1,741 new rules in 2007.
“Some rules cost more than others and deserve special attention. Of the new rules, 159 are “economically significant,” meaning they will cost at least $100 million a year. ”
So, it’s difficult for me to see just what has been “deregulated,” and how it’s caused all this financial destruction.
Here we go again.
Sherry Jones, an American journalist, wrote a book entitled The Jewel of Medina. She got and advance of $100,000 from Random House, and the book was scheduled to come out in August of this year. It reportedly concerns the love story of Muhammed and his child bride.
A professor who was asked to read the book and perhaps provide a blurb for the cover, instead panned the book. Her derogation of the book as “softcore pornography” was leaked to the press.
The result was to cause Random House to withdraw. Jones responded, “That one of the biggest publishing houses in the world refuses to publish a book because of warnings is a sobering comment on the state of freedom of speech in the USA.” http://tinyurl.com/4b5osy
What Jones said is true; freedom of speech is eroding in this country. That is happening, not because of any conspiratorial suppression, but because of our government’s defaulting on its job of protecting this freedom.
The default, ongoing for years now, was highlighted when American publishers and book sellers were terrorized from publishing Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses, and the government did nothing. It’s hard to blame Random House for being scared off.
Sherry Jones was able to find another publisher, Gibson Square, an independent in Britain. The threats followed the book across the ocean. The home/office of this publisher, Martin Rynja, has been firebombed, lending credence to Random House’s fears. At least, the British authorities acted quickly and well, arresting the perpetrators and charging them with terrorism.
Since I have nothing but scorn for religion, you can be sure that I abhor its recent creeping entry into government in the United States. I had intended to blog on this subject; however, Diana Hsieh is doing such a superlative job with the new Coalition for Secular Government that I can do no better than to direct anyone interested to:
An ongoing blog examines various relevant topics:
Be sure to read the position paper by Diana and Ari Armstrong, linked in the URLs above.